By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, the Rádio Cúpula dos Povos (People’s Summit Radio), the temporary radio station that had been set up at Museum of Modern Art in Flamengo to transmit Rio+20 information, was shut down by the Brazilian Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (Anatel).

Rádio Cúpula dos Povos Radio closed, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Protesters attempt to blockade the Rádio Cúpula dos Povos in Flamengo, photo by Fora do Eixo/Flickr Creative Commons License.

According to reports in O Globo, the station’s frequency, 90.7FM, was not authorized for transmission and ran the risk of interfering with traffic control at nearby Santos Dumont Airport.

The frequency, which was operated by a collective of fifty NGOs, was intended to provide up-to-date information on the decisions and discussions of the Rio+20 meetings.  

It is uncertain if the station will be restored, though Anatel technicians are investigating the use of anti-interference devices that would both allow transmission without posing a risk to air traffic control.

News of the closure, which took place on late Sunday afternoon, with the peaceful presence of 2nd Battalion (Botafogo) police forces, spread through social networks Twitter and Facebook, with people commenting their disapproval of the move many see as oppressive.  

Yet, it has been conceded that the radio did not have the proper authorization to work. Instead, operators argued that the low power of the signal, 25 watts, had a limited operating range. Cezar Alvarez, executive secretary of Anatel, mentioned in O Globo that, “It’s all a question of frequency, power and antenna pointing. The FCC is inquiring and seeing that the issues of interference and safety in the vicinity.”

Alvarez acknowledged the possibility of a special provisional operating permit, though a decision in this regard has yet to be reached. To protest the closure, which NGO activist on site claim was a silencing move on the part of Anatel, activists in charge of operating the radio staged a drumming protest in front of the now closed transmission site.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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